Study: Most women who choose abortion are conflicted about it

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A new study provides a counterpoint to the findings of the methodologically flawed and repeatedly debunked Turnaway Study, which concluded that 99% of women who obtain abortions are satisfied with that decision.

Whereas the “decision satisfaction” results of the Turnaway Study were based on a single yes/no question, the questions in the recent Charlotte Lozier Institute study conducted by scholars David C. Reardon, Katherine A. Rafferty, and Tessa Longbons (“The Effects of Abortion Decision Rightness and Decision Type on Women’s Satisfaction and Mental Health”) allowed for answers along a continuum.

For example, participants were asked for their level of agreement with the statement “Given my situation, the decision to have an abortion was the right decision for me,” and were given answer options ranging from “not at all true” to “very true.” 

Another important contrast between the Turnaway Study and the Lozier Institute’s recent study concerns participation rates.

While only 31% of the women approached to participate in the Turnaway Study agreed — and half of those dropped out prior to the study’s end — the Lozier Institute’s study reports “a 91% completion rate among women who had abortions after the topic of abortion was revealed.”

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This suggests that the Lozier Institute’s findings may be more representative of the post-abortive female population as a whole than were those of the Turnaway Study, although the Lozier Institute’s total post-abortive sample size (226 women) is admittedly smaller than that of the Turnaway Study (~667 women).

The Lozier Institute’s core findings also differ from those of the Turnaway Study. Reardon et al report (emphasis added):

Of 226 women reporting a history of abortion, 33% identified it as wanted, 43% as accepted but inconsistent with their values and preferences, and 24% as unwanted or coerced.

Only wanted abortions were associated with positive emotions or mental health gains. All other groups attributed more negative emotions and mental health outcomes to their abortions.

Sixty percent reported they would have preferred to give birth if they had received more support from others or had more financial security.

The Lozier Institute’s study concludes that “[m]ore research is needed to understand better the experience of the two-thirds of women for whom abortion is unwanted, coerced, or otherwise inconsistent with their own values and preferences.” 

This study was the second in “a series of planned studies designed to investigate the prevalence and impact of abortions that conflict with women’s own maternal preferences and moral beliefs,” according to a Charlotte Lozier Institute press release. 

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